|Choose your 'home sweet home' by
lifestyle and price
These are the most readily available housing options
on the market:
Single-Family Home (SFH):
The first kind of house that comes to most people's minds: a detached
home on its own plot of land. "This is the American dream,
a little piece of the world that belongs to you," says Hankner.
Pros: Best choice for
someone who wants freedom in how they care for their home -- and
also is willing to take responsibility for maintenance. If you
want to paint your house purple with a red front door, the choice
Other pluses: In most
parts of the country, SFHs are reliable financial investments
that appreciate steadily over time; mortgage interest is still
tax-deductible; homeowner maintains full decision-making about
the property; usually offer the greatest amount of privacy.
higher purchase price and maintenance expenses than other housing
options, depending on home's age and condition.
looks like an apartment in a shared building. You own the airspace
between the condo's walls (but not the building or land) and a share
in common space, such as parking and recreation areas.
Pros: Great for owners
who want to do minimal maintenance or who travel a lot. The condo
association often provides landscaping and exterior building maintenance.
Security can be better, since neighbors are close. Can be less
expensive than a SFH, though some new luxury condos are quite
pricey. May offer amenities such as a clubhouse and covered parking.
Also, condos in urban centers may be within walking
distance of upscale retail shops and restaurants.
Cons: Usually smaller
than a SFH; less privacy and more noise, since you may have upstairs
and downstairs neighbors; resale prices may not be as strong as
for a SFH.
Townhouse or Row house: Similar
to a condo, except that units may not be connected. Often consists
of several levels and a private garage.
Pros: Same as condos,
but with less noise since you probably won't have anyone living
above or below you; increasingly available in urban areas.
Cons: Possibly more
expensive than a condo; owner may have responsibility for landscaping
-- a "pro" if you have a green thumb!
Still not sure? Bankrate has lots of information
Teri Cettina is a freelance
writer based in Oregon.